Thursday, 24 July 2014

Summer childcare costs rising under cameron - more pressure for struggling parent

Under David Cameron childcare costs are soaring and the availability of childcare is plummeting, causing a summer of misery for many parents trying to balance work and family life in the holidays.

But while families facing a cost-of-living crisis come under more and more pressure, this Government has no plan to support families struggling with their childcare before the next election.

New analysis by the Labour Party shows that, under David Cameron, the cost of childcare during the summer holidays has spiralled upwards by 16 per cent – four times faster than wages. This means that parents will have to fork out an additional £100 per child for their summer childcare, compared to 2010.

I know my own childcare will cost around £1260 over the six weeks holiday.

Alongside soaring costs, the availability of holiday childcare has nearly halved – now just 27 per cent of councils have enough holiday childcare for parents who work full-time compared to 49 per cent in 2009.

Labour's vision for childcare will make work pay and boost the economy. Our pledge to increase free childcare for working parents with three and four-year-olds from 15 to 25 hours a week – worth £1500 per child – will be a real boost to parents struggling to pay for childcare throughout the year.

I recently received this letter from the Family and Childcare Trust which highlighted the state of childcare across England and Wales:
Family and Childcare Trust Holiday Childcare Costs Survey 2014 published today

Dear all,

The Family and Childcare Trust’s annual Holiday Childcare Costs Survey 2014 was published today and can be read online here.

Our annual survey monitors cost and availability of childcare during school holidays across Britain. This year the report was also supported by a Netmums survey of parents’ experiences of holiday childcare. The key findings are:

• Holiday childcare is 1.7% more expensive than it was last year and the average holiday club now costs £114.51 per week. Prices have fallen by 3.1% in the maintained sector and risen by 2.7% in the PVI sector.

• Only 27% of English local authorities and 6% of Welsh local authorities had enough holiday childcare for working parents. Parents of school aged children in rural areas, and those with disabled children, face even more acute shortages of holiday childcare, despite a legal obligation on local authorities to ensure sufficient childcare for these groups.

• 35% of parents found it difficult to find holiday childcare they could afford: 25% of parents had been forced to cut their hours, 17% said they had taken days off sick and 12% of parents had given up a job.

The Family and Childcare Trust wants all parties to commit to an independent review of childcare funding and a new long term childcare strategy that delivers the childcare that children, parent and providers need. In the short term, we recommend that:

• The Government should make sure all parents benefit from family friendly work through a campaign for parents on their rights and entitlements at work.

• Where there is insufficient holiday childcare, central government should help local authorities fill these gaps and work with parents to hold them to account if they fail to do so.

• In England, The Department for Education should work with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and the Home Office to ensure sufficient de facto childcare for older children. We call for similar action in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

• In England, local authorities and the Education Funding Agency should work with schools to make sure their premises and facilities are used to provide childcare and activities over holiday periods.